1979 - 2019: Garage by Alan Permane

Garage by Alan Permane,
Sporting Director

It’s interesting to compare the set-up needed to run a car in 1979 with our current needs. The absence of certain elements is the most noticeable. There are no data screens, composites, tyre warmers, garage system or very few spare parts in view. There’s also very little team kit or team identity, and limited privacy between spectators in the pitlane and the mechanics in the garage.

Now we have 15 data screens in the garage, plus more in the engine operations, pit wall and engineering office. This means we have access to so much more information on the performance of the car – 50 billion data points per car are generated per race.

We also have meticulously laid out tool boxes with integrated air guns and power sockets. Each car has an umbilical connection to the garage via the car overhead system, and we can connect to any person in the garage via radio, intercom or instant messaging tools.

I can’t see a flat patch either, which we use to set up the car in minute detail, with exact precision. In the 1970s it would have been a calculation, but most likely refined with driver feedback over the weekend. We still listen to the driver of course, but the changes we make are much more delicate; in 1979 they would have been more sweeping.

Also of note is the reduced number of personnel in the garage. We have 60 operational people per race, but just six people are in one photo, meaning each person was probably involved in multiple areas in the car build and running. The cars today are significantly more complicated, requiring more manpower to run them, but with this also comes more opportunity to tune the performance and focus on aerodynamic quality.